At the greengrocers over the weekend, we spotted what appeared to be the last of the summer strawberries. Small, red and juicy looking, we snapped up a punnet to enjoy after dinner in front of the telly…
They were awful. Ok, perhaps not awful – it’s hard for something tasteless to be awful – but certainly a disappointment. I decided the best use for them would be in strawberry syrup!
1 punnet strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Bring the sugar and water to the boil in a saucepan, then add the strawberries. Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally and not allowing to reduce too far. Add optional ingredients to taste – see below – then mush the strawberries with a potato masher if they need a helping hand! Strain through a muslin bag or sieve and pour into sterilised bottles or jars.
(I’ve no idea how long it’ll keep, but I’m still quite happily using a jar of elderberry syrup I made this time last year. Apply common sense!)
I added a spot of vanilla essence and some rose water to sweeten and flavour my syrup, and a crunch of black pepper to draw out the strawberry taste that was lacking a little. You can sweeten it to your taste, or balance out with a drop of lemon juice – although I personally prefer lime with strawberries! Dilute with milk for a delicious milkshake, use in cocktails, drip into porridge or reduce slightly and drizzle over pancakes… Yummy, and far superior to the synthetic strawberry “flavour” so often used in sauces!